The Detroit Tigers were in a prime position to tie or take the lead in the 9th inning of yesterday’s game against the New York Yankees.
Detroit had runners at first and second with nobody out trailing 1-0, but Brad Ausmus’ risky decision making may have very well ended up costing the Tigers a win.
Instead of bunting the runners to 2nd and 3rd which would have meant Detroit could have tied the game on an out, Ausmus pinch hit Miguel Cabrera for J.D. Martinez. He backed up the decision post-game.
Cabrera promptly grounded into a double play, and Don Kelly popped out to shortstop allowing the Yankees to escape with a 1-0 win and 3 out of 4 overall in the series.
If I were Ausmus, here’s how I would have played the situation. I would have had J.D. Martinez bunt the runners over (that was a first guess), and then instead of pinch-hitting Cabrera for Don Kelly (Cabrera would have been intentionally walked), I would have waited to see if Joe Girardi pitched to Kelly, or intentionally walked him too to set up the double play.
If Girardi had David Robertson pitch to Kelly, the Tigers could have tied the game on an out (not guaranteed, but pretty high chances), and if he walked him to set up the double play, then I would have pinch-hit Cabrera for Nick Castellanos with the bases loaded and no where for the reigning 2-time AL MVP to go.
Saying this all now sounds a lot more simple than the spur of the moment decision Ausmus had to make, but putting a runner at 3rd base with less than 2 outs in the 9th inning of a one-run game is something that must be done and Ausmus failed to do.